Recently, the House of Assembly passed a compendium of financial services bills as the government seeks to further comply with international tax standards. The Non-profit Organisations Bill was one of the bills passed. The Bill is scheduled to be further debated in the Senate on Monday, December 10th.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest has explained that the overriding objective of the bill is to provide for regulations to ensure that non-profit organisations are operating in in a transparent manner, and are not engaged in activities that involve corruption, money laundering or financing of terrorism. Some civil society organizations have expressed concern over confidentiality with regards to some of the reporting requirements and the BNT shares some of those concerns.
The Bahamas National Trust has reviewed the bill, and has determined that by virtue of the BNT Act, the organization is compliant with most of the conditions in the legislation. BNT does have a few issues which we will discuss with other civil society organizations and bring to the attention of the government. The BNT understands the need for transparency and proper regulation of the nonprofit sector.
According to the Commonwealth Network, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) and civil society community in The Bahamas is particularly active in the areas of environment, health and gender. The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) is the leading environmental NGO in The Bahamas, and is mandated with the development and management of the country’s national park system.